White Mage cosplay

Posted by Ellinor Orton on September 22, 2014 at 3:05 PM

It’s all happening over here! I’ve got cosplay and costume commissions out the wazoo (wherever that might be).


The most recent one to be completed was the White Mage from Final Fantasy XIV. This is a complete outfit with accessories. It consists of:


A white dress with rolled collar, long flared sleeves and pleated skirt. The pleats in the dress are inset in red, and the sleeves feature red applique with embroidered self-coloured patterning on them.


A white bolero with a hood and short flared sleeves. The bolero is extensively decorated with self-coloured embroidery, which runs continuously along the edge, joining designs at the front and back. The sleeves are also embroidered with similar designs, and are stiffened so that they stand out. The back has a long split, and there are designs at the corners and also on the top of the split. The bolero hood is long and pointed, with a similar red applique to the dress sleeves. Again this is embroidered in a self-coloured design. The bolero fastens with black cotton tapes. It is fully lined with white cotton.


A narrow white belt worn loose and at an angle.


A broader brown belt with a feature fastening .


Four pouches of differing designs and a leather bottle.


Gaitors/boot tops, laced at the back and with a strap to pass under the boot. The backs are reinforced with two layers of imitation leather and have high-quality metal washer eyelets set into them to strengthen them. They are laced with brown cord.


The complete outfit, except the gaiters - sadly Nefetari doesn't have the legs for them!


This isn’t a game I’ve played but fortunately there was plenty of source material. People post screenshots, and of course there are publicity shots and fan pages.


The client supplied her own fabrics. She picked cotton velvet for the white part, with a short pile, and plain cotton for the red part. The leather parts were white and brown fake leather.


The dress part has inset pleats in red, and a concealed zip up the back. The sleeves are fitted to the elbow and flared out, with red appliqué with self-coloured embroidery at the cuffs.


Where I’ve got appliqué, I’ve used bondaweb. This is sort of like double-sided sticky tape for fabric. You can draw a shape onto it, place the rough side onto the fabric and iron it. At this stage it’s sort of like interfacing. You can now cut around your shape and it won’t fray (that’s not a long-term thing). You now peel off the paper backing and put the fabric shape, bondawebbed-side-down, onto the fabric it’s going to be attached to. Iron again, and it’s stuck to your fabric. At this stage it’s a very good idea to put a close zigzag stitch over the edges, both to hold it down and to make sure it doesn’t fray.


Applique on the sleeves. You can see where I've zigzagged the edges to prevent peeling or fraying.

The embroidery that you see on the red cotton parts is a close zigzag and is drawn on freehand in tailors chalk. I then sewed over the lines. On the velvet parts I had initially thought to draw the design onto the smooth back of the velvet and zigzag from the reverse. However, I didn’t feel this looked as good as doing it from the right side. It’s hard to mark velvet with chalk on the right side, and these parts were going to be right next to each other so had to be symmetrical, so I didn’t want to freehand the design anyway.


I could have used a transfer pen to draw the design on paper then iron it on, but those are only available in black and it would probably have shown through. I could also have used a water-soluble pen to draw it on, or a light-sensitive pen* but I was again worried about symmetry.


What I eventually did was decide to line the bolero with a thin white cotton I had left over from something else. I traced the design onto the lining, attached it to the outer with bondaweb so it wouldn’t move, and then sewed the outline I’d drawn with a running stitch, which of course showed through onto the right side. I then went over this with the tight zigzag. Which was a bit of a faff but I think it looks absolutely amazing.



Embroidery on the bolero

The white belt, and the straps on the pouches and gaiters are all made by cutting a strip of fake leather twice the width I want, then putting a strip of double-sided tape down the centre of the wrong side and folding the edges in (rather like bias tape). I then sew along the edges to keep it in place and make a neat finish. I do find double-sided tape really helpful when using imitation leather. It’s generally advisable to use a double layer on anything that’s going to bear weight because it stretches very easily. The stitching also helps stop this.

Pouches and bags hang on the brown belt

The pouches are all quite basic to make, but the bottle was more tricky. It is made of three body panels and a small round panel at the bottom. An inverted champagne-type cork is pushed into the neck, the whole thing is stuffed firmly with wadding, and the bottom panel stitched on by hand. Again I used double-sided tape to add the white lines in imitation leather, stitching them down at the ends. I used white cotton tape for the hanging loop. If you’re going to make one of these, sew the three panels on the sewing machine, clip the curves (essential for it to have a smooth finish) and then unpick a couple of inches on the bottom of one of the seams. Turn the bottle through, push the cork into the neck (a champagne type cork is the best as it has a wider top – you’re using it upside-down so the narrower bottom sticks out of the bottle and there wider part stops the cork getting pushed out when you stuff the bottle), and close the seam by hand using the holes the machine sewing left. Ram the wadding down hard with whatever you’ve got to hand. I used a felt tip, with the lid on, of course! The more you stuff the bottle the smoother and rounder it’ll be.

The rough shape of the bottle pattern, in case you want to make one!


If there’s any aspects of the outfit you’re particularly interested in knowing more about, leave a comment and I’ll address them in the next blog!


*Light-sensitive and water-soluble pens are two ways to mark your fabric with clear lines which are easily removed. They look like felt tips but are temporary. Water-soluble ink vanishes when cold water is applied, and a light-sensitive pen, as the name implies, vanishes within 24 hours, though the process can be speeded up with cold water. It’s always a good idea to test a small scrap of fabric though; just splash cold water on the light-sensitive ink to see if it’ll come out. There’s no need to wait! I’ve never found anything they didn’t fade on, but you don’t want to learn the hard way that you’ve found an exception!

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